Redesigning the soldering iron!

Hi, we’re a team of engineering undergrads hoping to redesign the soldering iron. Specifically, we’re looking at making it safer and more usable by younger teens and children.

We’re looking for any feedback or advice you might have, especially if you have kids, so if you can spare a few minutes to fill out our survey, that’d be awesome. Or if you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email at: solder.otter@gmail.com. Thank you for your time and input!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14cAsPIbiU_jf09aFBU03nplbYuBtr0JpTPzrWEp4OFw/viewform

also, does anyone know why there is so much metal exposed towards the tip?

do you mean the metal from the handle to the tip?

My guess what that it simply was the cheapest way to hold the tip without the material melting, if you could insulated that without overheating the element that would be cool, and more efficient.

a built in temperature sensor/adjustment would be cool

and if you could make a tip that would not burn away over time that would be awesome as well. perhaps ceramic?

or maybe some type of glue gun solder dispenser thing?

also that link is dead

Well, the iron is either in your hand or in the holder. You know where you have it both places, meaning that it is relatively harmless.

You want the tip to be hot, and the handle to be cool. You want it to be light weight. You want it to be mechanically simple (price+reliability) You want it to be thin, in order to reach the places where you need the heat, and to be able to see what you are working with.

And passive cooling will be facilitated by a long, thin shaft.

Redesigning the soldering iron is quite a task. Basically it is like redesigning the bicycle. It is optimized, and changing it, will probably make it worse.

You could make it easier to see when it was warm (and where) using thermochromic materials, but to be honest, I think proper instruction and training will make soldering far safer than a redesigned soldering iron.

The hot tip will be there anyway.

It has to be hot enough to melt solder... The only way I can think of to make it fool-proof would be to mount it inside an enclosure and operate it robotically. But, that's not very practical or economical for educational or hobbyist use. I've never seen anything like that, but they probably exist in high-volume production environments. (I have seen wave solder machines & ovens for soldering circuit boards.)

When I was a kid, my soldering iron fell on the floor and I didn't notice it 'till I stepped on it in my bare feet! Ouch! If you solder, you ARE going to get burned every once in awhile. If you work in the kitchen you are going to cut yourself with a knife once in awhile I burned my finger (slightly) a couple of weeks ago.

I've learned that your sense of touch is faster than your sense of heat... Sometimes you realize that you've touched the soldering iron and you move your finger/hand before you feel the burn!

P.S. It's not as dangerous as playing sports... I've never seen anyone get burned so badly that they had to go the emergency room.

DVDdoug: ... If you solder, you ARE going to get burned every once in awhile. If you work in the kitchen you are going to cut yourself with a knife once in awhile ... P.S. It's not as dangerous as playing sports... I've never seen anyone get burned so badly that they had to go the emergency room.

Exactly. Pain is the mother of learning.

Trying to protect children against any perceivable risk, will not make them safer, just dumber. Protect them against the things that can hurt them seriously, irreversibly and fast, but learn them to handle complex systems and know, that some things can bite.

DVDdoug: When I was a kid, my soldering iron fell on the floor and I didn't notice it 'till I stepped on it in my bare feet! Ouch!

I once was soldering up a circuit in summer, sitting at the table in shorts. A rather large drop of solder slid off the iron and onto my leg. Of course, the instinct it to brush it off. Of course, that instinct is 100% wrong.

I had a burn blister on my hand and a worse one on my leg. Not fun at all.

Peter_I: Trying to protect children against any perceivable risk, will not make them safer, just dumber.

If ONLY the majority of Americans realized how important and true that statement is.

(sorry for the OT post, but I had to).

DVDdoug: I've never seen anyone get burned so badly that they had to go the emergency room.

I have. I spent a month in a burn center, had two surgeries (skin grafts). I burned both legs from the knee down (third degree burns) and both hands (left hand from the elbow to fingertip and right hand from wrist to fingertip - both third degree). The doctors called it "20 percent coverage third degree".

Hospitals have those "how do you feel" charts that go from 0 to 10 and range from a "happy face" to a "sad face". Well, for burns they should have a chart that goes to at least 100. The pain is above and beyond anything I ever experienced before. The pain made my vision go dark and gray, a roaring sound in my ears and (so I was told) I passed out. Quite a few times.

Happened on Valentines day! :)

Krupski, I think he meant burned from a soldering iron.

If you were burned that badly from a soldering iron, what were you doing??

OK, here is that garbled link!

polymorph: Krupski, I think he meant burned from a soldering iron.

If you were burned that badly from a soldering iron, what were you doing??

Nope, not a soldering iron... a bowl of toluene solvent (about 1 pint).

Krupski: Nope, not a soldering iron... a bowl of toluene solvent (about 1 pint).

Yikes! I've had my share of burns, cuts and chemical burns, but thankfully not anything that bad. A couple of hours at the ER has been enough.

I've spent quite a few nights sleeping with a hand hanging down into a bucket of cool water standing next to the bed.

(I also read it, as if you had made that size of burn with a soldering iron. That would take quite an effort!)

I remember as a teen, I was finishing soldering a project that I was excited to try out. But my last few joints I'd ended up with the iron in my left hand.

Without thinking, I grabbed it with my right hand by the barrel and tossed it in the holder. But it had a ceramic base on the heating element, and I was fast, so all I had was a layer of sort of powdered yellow on the palm side of my hand. Slightly sore but no other obvious ill-effects.

I became much more careful after that.